Recent Articles

Dec 2018

The Key to Using Dictionaries

by in CodeSOD on

It's easy to use dictionaries/maps to solve the wrong kinds of problems, but deep down, what's more elegant than a simple hashed map structure? If you have the key, fetching the associated value back out happens in constant time, regardless of the size of the map. The same is true for inserting. In fact, hash maps only become inefficient when you start searching them.

Concetta recently started a new job. Once upon a time, a developer at the office noticed that the user-facing admin pages for their product were garbage. They whipped up their own internal version, which let them accomplish tasks that were difficult, time-consuming, or downright impossible to do in the "official" front end. Time passed, someone noticed, "Hey, this is better than our actual product!", and suddenly the C# code that just lived in one folder on one developer's machine was getting refactored and cleaned up into an application they could release to the public.


The Error is ...Terror?

by in Error'd on

"Lasterror...Las terror...Terrorist...Zoroaster...They're all so close! Which one do I choose??" wrote Ralph.


Tokyo TDWTF Meetup: Bonenkai

by in Announcements on

Tokyo readers, it's been quite a while since our last Tokyo/TDWTF nomihoudai. It's always a fun time, and we've got a good group of regulars now. Here's a pic of a group of us from a past meetup:


Stringed Out

by in CodeSOD on

The line between objects and maps can sometimes get a little blurry. In languages like JavaScript, there’s really no difference between the two. In Python, the deep internals of your classes are implemented essentially as dicts, though there are ways around that behavior.

In a language like C#, however, you’ve got types, you’ve got property definitions. This can offer a lot of advantages. When you layer on features like reflection, you can inspect your objects. Combine all this, and it means that if you want to serialize a data object to XML, you can usually do it in a way that’s both typesafe and generally doesn’t require much code on your part. A handful of annotations and a few method calls, and boom- any object gets serialized.


Golf Buddies

by in CodeSOD on

Hiring people you know is a double-edged sword. You already have an established relationship, and shared background, and an understanding of how they think and act. You’re helping a friend out, which always feels good. Then again, good friends don’t always make good co-workers, and if you limit your hiring pool to “people I know” you’re not always going to find the best people.

Becky’s boss, Chaz, tends to favor his golf buddies. One of those golf buddies got hired, developed for a few months, then just gradually ghosted on the job. They never quite quit or got fired, they just started coming in less and less until they stopped coming in at all.


Chunks of Genius

by in CodeSOD on

Brian recently started a new job. That means spending some time poking around the code base, trying to get a grasp on what the software does, how it does it, and maybe a little bit of why. Since the users have some complaints about performance, that's where Brian is mostly focusing his attention.

The "good" news for Brian is that the his predecessors were "geniuses", and they came up with a lot of "clever" solutions to common problems. The actually good news is that they've long since moved on to other jobs, and Brian will have a free hand in trying to revise their "cleverness".


A Reusable Application

by in Tales from the Interview on

Jay J had been helping a friend with the job hunt. As an experienced developer, with a strong network, Jay had a sense of who was hiring and what jobs were promising. One of his connections turned up a lead at Initech. Jay pointed his friend in that direction, and wished for the best.

"They won't let me apply," the friend explained when Jay asked how things were going. "Here, try it. These are my details. This is the link for the web application. Fill in the form and see what happens."